Our gamer vocabulary acronym for today is “MMO”. MMO stands for massively multiplayer online.
A massively multiplayer online game (also called MMO and MMOG) is a multiplayer video game which is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and feature at least one persistent world.
Originally, MMOs would require a monthly subscription. Normally this would be $15 a month with discounts given for paying in advance. This subscription allows the company that created the game to keep servers up, since the game could only be played online. It also allows them to continue to create content.
However, there has been a move over the last couple of years to a free-to-play model. The game is released for free with the option to purchase different things. Some games restrict what you can do for free, meaning you need to pay to unlock everything. Other games allow you to play the entire game for free with purchases being either cosmetic or time-saving.
For example, Age of Empires Online is completely free to play. You can earn everything in game through play. However, it would take a lot of time to get enough in-game currency to buy everything. So you have the option to pay money to get the currency faster.
You will see MMO paired with other genre types when describing a specific game. For example:
- MMORPG – This is the biggest category of MMOs. It also includes the biggest MMO in the U.S., World of Warcraft. Other notable examples are Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, DC Universe Online, and Dungeons & Dragons Online.
- MMORTS – This is a genre that is growing. It includes Age of Empires Online.
- MMOFPS – This genre is also growing, although it is fairly small at the moment. The most notable entry is Planetside 2.
There is one other important thing to know about MMOs. With a few notable exceptions (DC Universe Online being one), MMOs are almost exclusively on the PC. So you will have to a computer powerful enough to run the game you are interested in.